Let the record show that Roman Reigns is not a sell-out. Or an opportunist, or a company man, or whatever adjective you choose to describe divisive-but-superlative (and now injured) WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, because with The Architect stripped of the title, The Big Dog chose to take his chances in a tournament to become champion rather than accept a bye to the finals from Triple H as a handout in exchange for his loyalty. That’s a bold strategy, Cotton, and it may not quite pay off. For all his bravado, Reigns’ quarterfinal draw might make it one-and-one for The Big Dog: He’s got Big Show.
Roman Reigns may have a future on his own yet. Despite being thrown to The World’s Largest Athlete when he told Triple H to shove it, Reigns clawed his way to the quarterfinals at the expense of the man who did take a handout from The Authority one Survivor Series ago. A dominant performance by the 2015 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner was squandered by a last-gasp rally by Reigns, who pre-empted the KO Punch with a fist of the Superman variety, followed swiftly with a Spear to put Show away.
Hot on the heels of the No. 1 contender is Kevin Owens, who upended a formidable challenge of his own in Titus O’Neil to join Roman Reigns in the quarterfinals of the WWE World Heavyweight Title Tournament. Owens seemingly took away the near-unmatched power of the former WWE Tag Team Champion by shoving him shoulder-first into the commentary table. But The Big Deal powered back down the stretch and Owens had to get inventive, surprising a cruising O’Neil with a Pop-up Powerbomb to earn the win.
She’s Maiden Ireland, all right, but Becky Lynch does just fine in England as well. The Divas Revolutionary defeated her traitorous comrade-in-arms Paige on the Anti-Diva’s home turf, though The Lass Kicker certainly paid the price for not just humiliating Charlotte’s No. 1 contender, but surprising her. That’s because Paige was firmly in control during the duration of their bout, putting the boots to the “B” and attempting a series of hands-on-the-tights rollups, forcing Becky to turn it around and get a “P” — pin, that is — with a hand of Paige’s own trunks … which led to a PTO atop the commentary table as payback. Hey, a “W” is a “W.”
Yep, it’s Ziggler vs. The Miz, but this ain’t The Battle of Cleveland all over again. No, sir, this latest tilt between the two native Ohioans was to see which will advance in the WWE World Heavyweight Title tournament, and given that both men are former World Champs looking for another stint on the throne, there was a little extra mustard to their efforts in the round of 16. Well, that and Miz was probably still a little salty at getting his head jammed into a pumpkin a few weeks ago. This time around, The Awesome One laid into Dolph’s leg to set up the Figure-Four Leglock and seemed to have Zig Man on his #heels. So, with most of Dolph’s offense neutralized, The Showoff had to resort to a variety of rollups and, finally, a quick-strike superkick with the good leg to wipe Miz
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Natalya still wants the B.A.D.dest of them all. Although The Queen of Harts’ strategy to dismantle Team B.A.D. from within — call out the “leader” and let the infighting over that title take over — hasn’t exactly disintegrated the devious Divas, it has led to a pair of victories already. This one was over Naomi, who was doing fine until the former Divas Champion kicked up the ubiquitous “We Want Sasha” chants, leading to a tide shift that threw Team B.A.D. into chaos and opened the door for a Nattie rollup. Only then did she get Sasha, suffering a Bank Statement when The Boss and the rest of Team B.A.D. rushed the ring after the match for some payback.
Glory, glory, Man U! And to Cesaro, who advanced over Sheamus to a quarterfinal tilt against Roman Reigns, thanks in no small part to the participation of Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney at ringside. Good thing, too, because it was all Sheamus until Cesaro backflipped his way out of the Irish Curse to land the Swissblade and swing (pun intended) the momentum his way. A gruesome suplex over the ropes left Cesaro with one working arm, so he adjusted and revved up the Uppercut Express with the other one, driving The Celtic Warrior over the barricade. This instigated a face-off between Rooney and King Barrett at ringside that ended with His Grace taking a slap across the face from the captain. A gobsmacked Sheamus was stopped dead in his tracks and Cesaro capitalized, springing a rollup to head into Round Two.
Tyler Breeze is gorgeous. We all know this. But how does Prince Pretty look after a few fists to the face from Dean Ambrose in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament? Not bad, mainly because The Lunatic Fringe took a nasty spill on a top-rope dropkick and lost the use of his left arm, neutralizing most potential punches from the former U.S. Champion. Breeze capitalized accordingly by ramming Ambrose shoulder-first into every ringpost he could find, but The Lunatic Fringe surprised The Gorgeous One with a small package that sent Ambrose to a quarterfinal showdown against Breeze’s rival of late, Dolph Ziggler.
According to The New Day’s pre-match tirade, it’s outrageous that, after all their outstanding accomplishments, they were left out of the WWE World Heavyweight Title Tournament. That may be, but the WWE Tag Team Champions didn’t have too long to mope given that Neville & The Usos were spoiling for a little anarchy in the U.K. To their credit, Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods held off The Usos pretty handily, and it was only Neville’s furious entry into the match that left them scrambling for an answer. They found it when Kingston slid Woods’ trombone into the ring to distract the ref, at which point Big E thwarted the Red Arrow and Woods rolled the former NXT Champion up with his feet on the ropes.
Rest in peace? Not quite. Despite Bray Wyatt’s attempt to bury The Undertaker and Kane once and for all after consuming their powers, the demonic Superstars returned from the void to give The Eater of Worlds a taste of his own medicine. The Brothers of Destruction surrounded Wyatt right after he had finished his “eulogy” for the former WWE World Heavyweight Champions, and even the arrival of The Wyatt Family wasn’t enough to stymie the resurrected Superstars. They dispatched the Family, planted The New Face of Fear with a double chokeslam and struck their signature pose, fully revitalized and ready to roll. Now it’s the Wyatts’ turn to run.